The strict prohibition on the representation of the human form has channelled artistic creation into architecture and architectural decoration. This book is a magical tour through Central Asia – Khirgizia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan - a cradle of ancient civilisations and a repository of the Oriental arts inspired by Buddhism and Islam. There are magnificent, full-colour photographs of the abandoned cities of Mervand Urgench, Khiva, the capital of the Kharezm, with its mausoleum of Sheikh Seid Allahuddin, and the Golden Road to Samarkand, the Blue City, a centre of civilisation for 2,500 years.
Vladimir Lukonin (1932-1984) stood for two decades at the head of the Hermitage Oriental Department, assisted by his colleague Anatoli Ivanov, lead researcher. He published more than a dozen books, mostly on aspects of Parthian and Sassanian Iran and Central Asia.
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